• Mandi Hudson

    Survivor


    Cancer treatment was tough. I was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before my 31st birthday. We had a big party planned and decided not to tell anyone, because it was New Years Eve and we didn’t want to ruin the festivities for our friends. Apparently my game face is pretty terrible and they knew something was going on, rather than assuming I had cancer, our friends seemed to think we were getting a divorce (we couldn’t be in the same room all night, because we were too emotional). Mike made the phone calls in the morning, he had the role of being the news-giver, talking about it exhausted me. So I started my breast cancer blog, so I could talk when I was ready to talk and share what I was ready to share.

    My doctor found a tumor in my lymph node before I even had surgery. We knew it had started to spread. I was diagnosed stage IIB after surgery.

    A few weeks into chemo I called my husband while he was at work, from the hospital to let him know I was having surgery in a few hours. My mastectomy refused to heal, and the doctor was going to close it up. I have no idea what kind of day he had planned for himself, I am sure not sitting in the waiting room for the 2nd of what became 5 surgeries was everything he had hoped for. All I can remember about that day was that I really wanted a cheeseburger on the way home. Who doesn’t want a cheeseburger right after surgery?

    I had one more surgery while still in chemo, this time it was to remove my breast expander. The attempt to close the incision didn’t work. I had been working close to full time throughout treatment, and had even started working a week after my bilateral mastectomy. I realized now I needed to allow myself to heal (although working was a great distraction, and kept as much normal in my life as possible). I took some time off to focus on me (and finish up chemo). 

    Holy cow. Hormone depletion and the mood swings that come with it. The depression that comes from watching the scars on your body show up, your hair fall out and your energy drain away from radiation. Mike would sit by me, bring me my purple Gatorade, and watched every episode of Star Trek Next Generation from start to finish because that is how much time I spent sleeping while he was awake. He cooked, he cleaned and he rarely complained. 

    Many times when I just didn’t think I could handle the next step, or get up the next day, when the tears wouldn’t stop, my husband would talk me off the ledge. He still does. I don’t know how I would do it without my husband, he gives me strength.

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